There is a pressure during Christmas time to experience the joy of the season. But for many, the talk of joy and merriment of the season accentuates the pain and sorrow of life more acutely. The pains of normal life are enough, but when everyone around us seems to be “singing, ringing bells, and pretending everything’s suddenly merry,” the pressure to feel the joy of the season is more difficult. Instead of looking around us, if we look to the scriptures, we see that God became man and knows the pain and sorrows of humanity.
During Advent, we celebrate Jesus’s humanity. Jesus, who was fully God came to earth to also be fully human. The Apostle John writes that the Word (Jesus) became flesh (Jn. 1:14). He became a real human. Jesus grew up and experienced life with its joys and sorrows. During Jesus’ ministry he ministered to the lowest in society who were hurt and grieving. Jesus also experienced depths of pain and sorrow during his crucifixion. We see Jesus’ humanity after the resurrection as well in Luke’s account of Jesus’ ascension in the book of Acts:
After he had said this, he was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Jesus is forever the God-man. Jesus ascended with a human body, sits at God’s right hand in his humanity, and will return again in his humanity. During Advent, don’t look to your surroundings for Christmas-season joy, but to the scriptures to find a lasting joy that is born from pain. Isaiah tells us “He (Jesus) was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Is. 53:3,4 ESV).
Why is it important to think about Jesus’s humanity this Advent season? Jesus’s humanity is a promise.
Jesus has a glorious human body that is beyond our current experience. Those who are united to Jesus through faith can look forward to this same glorious human body. Paul writes, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself” (Phil. 3:20-21). As sickness, disease, and old age pervades our world we have this promise–hope of Jesus’ return in his humanity to perfect our humanity.
Mathis, David, The Christmas We Didn’t Expect: Daily Devotions for Advent (The Good Book Company) 90.